Great reporting from Iraq from Michael Yon. Certainly wouldn’t ever read prose like this from the traditional news outlets:
Although the Iraqi Soldiers are nearly always embarrassed when an American like Captain Morris bolts around and tells them to cut out the idiocy, the most interesting dynamic is how it also engenders respect from the Iraqi Soldiers for the Americans. Before the war, our people had no street credibility in Iraq. Iraqis thought American Soldiers were soft, and that the body armor was a type of personal air conditioner. But if the Iraqis knew back then what they know now about American willingness to suffer and fight, it’s doubtful that Saddam would have taunted an angry America. Yet today, knowing our Soldiers to be actually aggressive and able killers when the switch gets flipped to ON, they also see how our people are more competent street fighters than the Iraqi Army, even without the high-tech tools. The man-to-man respect is there. And so when someone like Captain Morris points out to Iraqi Soldiers something they already know they are doing wrong (like painting the wall of someone’s house, for instance), their respect for Americans grows. Day after day, Iraqis come to Americans asking for justice, because they see countless thousands of daily actions by people like Captain Sheldon Morris. Our military is a powerful tribe.
Here’s a another bit:
I watched during the Senate hearings on 11 September 07 as some Senators attempted to corner General Petraeus, insinuating that the war in Iraq was a distraction from the fight against al Qaeda. It was clearly that during the initial invasion, but not today. These photos were taken at the center of what al Qaeda claimed to be their worldwide headquarters. Listening to some of the Senators’ questions, the true magnitude of the gulf between what is happening in Iraq and what people in America think is happening in Iraq became apparent. Some Senators clearly had been doing their homework and were asking smart questions—if negative at times—but others seemed completely ignorant of the ground situation here, which adds nothing meaningful to the debate.
I guess it all depends on whose perception of events you choose to believe. Yon should get some credit for his accounts, since he’s in Iraq and all.